Emperor Akihito’s national television speech to the Japanese people is unprecedented in modern times. Yes, his father Emperor Hirohito made a national radio address following the ending of wartime hostilities in August 1945
But since then the World’s oldest monarchy has kept itself to itself. Radio and television addresses are few and far between and aren’t matters of national importance. They certainly aren’t in the spotlight.
Japan itself is in the spotlight right now. A colossal earthquake. A monstrous tsunami and now a nuclear reactor disaster. What better time to have Emperor Akihito give a speech to the nation as Head of State?
His speech was short at about five minutes in length.
His manner was courteous as he started his speech with a bow. And whilst his speech remained mannered, the language was more direct than many court watchers expected. There’s an expectation for the arcane and flowery language of the Imperial court. The 77-year old Emperor, however, spoke with far more directness.
His speech must certainly have helped to bring hope to his nation. And indeed it would have inspired many to further titanic struggles with the devastation the country’s experienced.
If there’s a danger with the Emperor’s speech it has to be that the nuclear power station disaster could become political. If that’s the only danger facing the occupant of the Imperial Palace, then that’s a risk worth taking.
The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+